Frank Appleton Collymore MBE (7 January 1893 – 17 July 1980) was a famous Barbadian literary editor, author, poet, stage performer and painter. His nickname was "Barbadian Man of the Arts". He also taught for 50 years at Combermere School, where he sought out and encouraged prospective writers in his classes, notably George Lamming and Austin Clarke.
Frank Collymore was born to Wilhemina Clarke and Joseph Appleton Collymore at Woodville Cottage, Chelsea Road, Saint Michael, Barbados (where he lived all his life). Aside from being a student at Combermere School (from 1903 until 1910), he was also one of its staff members until his retirement in 1958, up to which point he was its Deputy Headmaster. After this, he often returned to teach until 1963.
On the stage, he became a member of the "Bridgetown Players", which began in 1942. As an artist, he made many drawings and paintings to illustrate his own writings. He called them "Collybeasts" or "Collycreatures".
In 1942, Collymore began the famous Caribbean literary magazine BIM (originally published four times a year), for which he is most well-known, and he was its editor until 1975. John T. Gilmore has written of Collymore: "As a lover of literature, he was also a dedicated and selfless encourager of the work of others, lending books to aspiring writers from their schooldays onwards, publishing their early work in Bim, the literary magazine he edited for more than fifty issues from the 1940s to the 1970s, and helping them to find other markets, especially through the relationship he established with Henry Swanzy, producer of the influential BBC radio programme Caribbean Voices."
Three literary awards have been named after him. The Frank Collymore Literary Endowment was established by the Central Bank of Barbados to honour his memory as well as to recognise, support and reward literary talent in Barbados, while the Frank Collymore Hall was constructed as a venue for distinguished public speakers and cultural events.
- BIM (1942–75)
- Thirty Poems (1944)
- Beneath the Casuarinas (1945)
- Flotsam (1948)
- Collected Poems (1959)
- Rhymed Ruminations on the Fauna of Barbados (1968)
- Notes for a Glossary of Words and Phrases of Barbadian Dialect (1970)
- Selected Poems (1971)
- The Man Who Loved Attending Funerals and Other Stories (1993) (published posthumously)
- Day's End (year unknown)
Awards and honours
- Order of the British Empire – 1958
- University of the West Indies M.A. – 1968
- Savacou: A Journal of the Caribbean Artists Movement (January/June), ed. Edward Kamau Brathwaite, dedicated "A Tribute to Frank Collymore" (1973)
- Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal – 1977
- George Lamming, another famous Barbadian author.
- Amaryllis Collymore, his great-great-great grandmother
- Edward Baugh, Frank Collymore: A Biography (Ian Randle Publishers, 2009), ISBN 978-9766-373-917
- Philip Nanton, "Frank A. Collymore: A Man of the Threshold", Kunapipi, Vol. 26, Issue 1, 2004.
- Michael Hughes, A Companion to West Indian Literature, Collins, 1979, p. 37.
- Herdeck, Donald E. (ed.), "Collymore, Frank A. (Colly)", in Caribbean Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical-Critical Encyclopedia, Three Continents Press, 1979, pp. 55–58.
- "Frank Collymore (1893–1980), Barbadian Teacher, Writer, Artist, and Actor", in Serafín Mendez Mendez, Gail Cueto, Neysa Rodríguez Deynes (eds), Notable Caribbeans and Caribbean Americans: A Biographical Dictionary, Greenwood Press, 2003, p. 119.
- John T. Gilmore, "The godfather", Caribbean Review of Books, July 2010.
- "Frank Collymore—The Legacy" Archived 2015-05-11 at the Wayback Machine., Frank Collymore Hall.
- Philip Nanton (January–February 2004). "The man who loved to have fun". Caribbean Beat Magazine. Caribbean Airlines (65). Archived from the original on December 25, 2005.
- The Frank Collymore Hall (most of the content above is taken from Collymore's biography at this site)
- Frank Collymore Literary Award
- The Frank Collymore Literary Endowment